tv European Journal KCSMMHZ January 22, 2013 2:00am-2:30am PST
>> hello and a very warm welcome to "european journal" coming to you from dw studios in brussels. thanks for joining us. a rock band defies the mafia in italy. croatia -- we take you to an island inhabited by monks. and france -- people are learning german again. people in the czech republic are electing a new president directly for the first time. during his 10 years in power,
klaus often angered his european partners with his euro skeptics commons. now, he is making a final grand gesture. >> watching televised images of amnestied convicts leaving prison as free citizens. the same people he says are responsible for his losing everything he worked so hard for. now he will be in debt for the rest of his life. >> i will tell you quite openly and with some bitterness i'm no friend of amnesty's like this. it is a sweeping amnesty that is not just affect small-time hoods. at least 120 really big fish who have thousands of victims. >> in the late 1990's, he had a
house bill. he paid some 100,000 euros but only got a bear shell. the managers took the money out of the construction company and let it go bankrupt. he had to sink another $100,000 into finishing the house. but that was not all. he feels cheated by the bankruptcy trustee who required him to pay another $100,000 to free the house from bankruptcy. that ruined him. >> i have to come up with some 100,000 euros for the house every month. those are the installments i have to pay for another 15 or 20 years with interest on top. so there's no question of retirement. my son supports me, so i can come up with the money. but we might end up having to sell the house because we are running out of money. and we are running out of the
energy to scrape it together every month. emma the president's new year speech from the prague castle, residents of the czech president out rage -- >> the president's new year speech. it took nearly half a second to mention the amnesty. one of every four prisoners in the czech republic walk free. 6000 people altogether. and several cases were dropped. among those released were the heads of the company that cheated him. the ex-convict see the outgoing president as a hero. >> it is very nice. i thank you, mr. president, for giving me this second chance. >> he had already served two years and had one more to go, but now he is home. many of his countrymen are not happy about it. the president's speech has been
met with widespread disbelief and outrage. the prisons may have been overcrowded, but the foreign minister says this was hardly an acceptable way to relieve the situation. >> it could have been limited to petty criminals and for crimes that would not have been punished with a prison sentence in most european countries but with house arrest or community service. it is just not acceptable for the republic's greatest scandals to be up here. >> then why did the president declared the amnesty? why did he take the risk of alienating almost the entire population? as prime minister in the 1990's, he preached the virtues of the free market, but he seemed little concerned with the corruption that came with it. many say a lot of the people walking free now are part of klaus' own boys network. it was again at of jail free car
for the big fish as well as the small fry. after 10 years in august, he cannot run for another term. attorneys believe his last official act was a kind of thank-you gesture to his old friends. >> among those who have been amnestied and whose proceedings have been dropped are people who had some kind of connection to the president. or he just wanted to help them. i will say right off that i cannot prove it, but why else would he do this at the end of his term? there would not be any other point to it. everyone here is asking the same question -- why? >> the president's action has made him less popular than ever among czechs. many local schools are already taking his picture down, even before he has left office.
nearly all of his neighbors were cheated by the same company, as managers are now back on the streets. many of the residents have not been able to finish their houses for lack of funds. now on top of the financial losses, they have also lost the justice they thought they had received. >> it is bad from a moral standpoint as well. the guilty parties should carry the blame, at least morally. but now they can start all over again. who knows? maybe even claim damages. anything is possible these days. if you consider the harm they've done here, almost 1000 people lost their homes and savings, and they are left with just these ruins. it is a real slap in the face that such an amnesty could ever happen.
>> he is 64, and he would have to work for another 20 years to pay off his debts. those responsible are now free, and he has lost his faith in czech justice. >> mafia clans going back centuries in italy now control large parts of the european and world. they are involved in illegal activities ranging from trafficking goods and people to money laundering and selling drugs. their methods are often violent. they bribe, threaten, and killed. few dare speak out against them, but a young rock band has decided to take them on in naples. >> the band wanted change public attitudes toward the mafia-type criminal organization that has widespread influence in the region. "we are ourselves the mafia
because we are afraid to talk about it because we do not challenge our own attitude and break with this mentality." it is not the kind of statement you often hear in these parts. people here of -- people here uphold the code of honor the places heavy code of honor on -- the places have the importance of a deep-rooted code of silence. in one of the most rundown parts, we meet up with the band's frontman, the guitarist, and drummer. they take us to the high-rise neighborhoods that gained notoriety thanks to an anti- mafia film. the drug dealers have moved on, but in the alleyways where children play, we still find traces of the devastating drug
activity that went on here. this concrete jungle attests to the camorra's reign of terror. criminal clans have effectively replaced the state. the camorra shapes their everyday life. >> if your car gets stolen, you do not go to the police. you make inquiries with someone you know. you pay a bribe, and you get your car back. you compromise yourself like that all the time. corruption is everywhere. it is in the air we breathe. before we can fight the camorra on the street, we need to defeat our own inner camorriste. >> they want to undermine the cool gangster image. you are only someone here if you
are in with the mafia. it is a fast ticket to cash and respect in a region where work is hard to come by. but the band is confident that they can help change the prevailing mentality. they believe the camorra can be resisted. >> i am no difference to anyone in jail. the only difference is that i had a stable family who taught me what mattered and gave me a set of values. others come from broken families, and their only role models were cool drug dealers who always wore the latest sports shoes and had expensive cell phones, the ones who told the police to get lost. >> the bad midget the band members have seen too many kids grow up into drug dealers and killers. they want to reach out to them before they succumb. local police recently raided a high-rise block that had been
boarded up by dealers and turned into what was more or less a drug supermarket. the raid was successful, but a gang war has since erupted within the organization. an innocent bystander was recently killed in mobster crossfire. police speak of a new generation of criminals. >> the old bosses are now behind bars. what we're dealing with now are rival cartels. the old bosses have handed over their power to young men who are sometimes only 20 -- impulsive firebrands who are fighting to broaden their territories. >> culture is the only weapon that will help the state. many locals obviously dream of a life without the camorra. to them, the band is a welcome respite. they are sharing the stage with
other artists with a similar agenda. they want people to know that they do not have to accept the camorra's rule of law. we talked to a teacher in the audience who tells us that many of her students have parents in jail. >> you do not go into education to teach children reading and writing. before all else, we must show them that there is another way to live. >> from local it -- for local teenagers, life in the high-rise estates tends to be bleak. they are all too aware that taking a stand means taking a risk. >> at one concert, the audience yelled "viva la camorra" at us. another time, i was pretty scared when does from a gang decided they had to show us how great the camorra is. fortunately, nothing happened,
and we had to carry on. >> the band has made a name for itself beyond labels. they all still live with their parents. they cannot yet make a living with their music, said they take jobs, but they are working on their next album. their fight continues. >> we europeans love our islands. they are among our favorite holiday destinations, but in our new series, we want to take you off the beaten track and to places that have more to offer than beautiful coastlines and resorts. our first report takes us to croatia. >> the day begins early. in winter, the island is almost deserted. only five monks reside in the old monastery.
>> our life is prayer. that is how we have always kept it. we have morning prayers with fasting hour. then we pray in the afternoon. finally, for 3/4 of an hour in the evening. >> after breakfast, they make the crossing to the mainland. the monastery needs supplies, and there's paperwork to take care of. the monks have to leave the island almost every day. >> island life is not easy. you need a boat to get anywhere. island residents have to be able to operate a boat. if you do not know how to, then you have to learn. >> the friars' travel to spread
the gospel. original teachings instructed monks to move into cities to do the most good for the people, but the monks were also supposed to seek solitude. the island is home to some true treasures like the forest with its ancient oaks. croatia boasts more than 1000 islands, but few are as green and probably no other is as bio diverse. more than 500 species of plant grow on the tiny island, and no one knows them as well as this prof. of biology who has written a book about the forest. he is 103 years old, and he is believed to be the oldest member of the franciscans worldwide. he can still switched effortlessly between several languages.
>> for me, this place is a little paradise. you can study. you can vacation. you can pray. for me, it is a gift from god. them in the monastery is not only a spiritual place -- it is also a place of work. for centuries, the monks have reconstructed and renovated the building bit by bit. another treasure is concealed behind its walls and extensive library with a priceless venetian atlas that is more than 500 years old. it is one of only three copies worldwide. but the monks keep there's hidden from public view. -- the monks keep theirs hidden. they receive next to no financial support. they have to raise the money they need to live and maintain the monastery. some comes from visitor fees
charged from the island and museum. most comes from seminars held here in the summertime. >> what we earn in the summer helps us get through the winter. we spend it on repairs or restoration work. in spring, the money is gone, and a new life begins with a new year. >> tony was a sailor who traveled around the world. now his home is here. he has two boats to ferry the taurus around the island. in winter, the small boat suffices. >> in summer, it is pretty rest. there's a lot of tourists here.
one of two hours is necessary to visit the island completely. a very nice church and monastery. that is the reason they have. >> in summer, the island welcome's tens of thousands of visitors. the monks hold church services and meditations for the guests, doing good for the people in their own small way. >> studying and reading are incredibly important. we live apart from the world, but we are still a part of it. we are in contact with people. that is why it is so important for us to know what is going on in theology and the world outside. >> friar diego uses the winter months to prepare his seminars.
for him, studying is not a burden. it is an existential meade. the winter days are short, and the sun sinks early below the horizon. the small world of the island tucked away from the big world outside. this is the simple life, the life of the franciscans. >> germany and france are celebrating an important anniversary -- 50 years ago on the 22nd of january, 1963, the two neighbors sealed their friendship with the so-called elysee treaty. they ended centuries of mistrust and periodic wars between the two countries. the border region was often a battleground with both france and germany occupying it a different times. now it belongs to france, but traces of its german past are
still clearly visible. >> the goethe statue. in his day, even the locals spoke a german dialect, it was part of france. he had a love affair with a parson's daughter. she understood his love letters, but these days, he would be hard put to find anyone in the region with fluent german. benjamin lu big is a rapper. he feels that fluency in both french and german is an integral part of the regional identity. he has performed in alsatian german and campaigns against right-wing extremism. >> my brother, an alsatian
german wearing a palestinian scarf. what we want to do is tackle preconceptions. >> preconceptions such as the idea that germans are all neo- nazis. >> the problem was hitler. hitler crippled the people of alsace when he forcibly recruited our fathers and grandfathers, even though they were french. this is a trauma that we have never come to terms with. >> not even margin's family. at the start of the war, his father served in the french army, but at the end of the war, he was wearing a uniform. 130,000 men were forcibly recruited by the nazis. hitler annexed the land, claiming the population is ethnic germans. that experience cast its shadow
well beyond the post-war years. >> how could they explain to their mothers and wives what they had seen and possibly even done in russia? they could not. they shut the door on it. they refused to speak about it and forbade their children from even speaking about it, so as to avoid ever again ending up as a french soldier wearing a german uniform fighting another country. >> for decades, the government in paris band alsatian german in schools. over the years, even families stopped speaking it as much. this has put many at a professional disadvantage. claude runs a franco-german business consultancy. he says that a number of innovative companies cannot and no longer expect to find bilingual staff in alsace.
>> there are tens of thousands of jobs on the german and swiss border as well as in alsace itself. companies expect people here to speak excellent german, and that means french applicants do not get the jobs because their german is not good enough. >> he sends his children to a bilingual school. he tells them about various stereotypical images of germans and why they came about. >> for now, there's a divide here in alsace. on the one hand, there are people like us who have no prejudices who just think it is great to be able to speak french and german. but then there are others who are still very prejudiced about
germans. >> under pressure from parental associations, the french government has begun to address the issue. some 25,000 children are now getting intensive german lessons. if the demand grows, the school authorities could run into difficulty. >> there are not enough people who speak german well enough. i'm talking about people who studied it and can speak it fluently. we are at a point where we see fewer students interested in german.
>> bilingual schools were not an option when benjamin grew up. he learned german from his father. >> when they were younger, my sons did not want to learn german. they thought it was an ugly language. now they ask me what various words mean. i speak alsatian german with my grandchildren. i want to hear my mother tongue spoken again. >> good to -- goethe would have been glad to hear it. he is no longer the only one in strasbourg who adores the language. >> that report wraps up this edition of "european journal." thanks for watching. until next time, auf wiedersehen